summer intensive


THE COMMON THREAD: ASANA, PRANAYAMA AND MEDITATION

 

Ashtanga is said to be a moving meditation, but what exactly does this mean?  How can a practice of breath and movement expand our consciousness?  How can it uncover the fundamental elements of our psychology, and allow us to engage those elements more intimately?  How can it draw us out of ourselves, make us more present, and awaken our compassion for other beings?

In this special summer intensive, we explore these questions on the medium of our own bodies.  We study the internal dynamics of Ashtanga, and we uncover the simple but potent techniques that bring the practice alive—tracing internal currents of breath, balancing subtle patterns of sensation, moving our bodies from the inside, and settling ever more deeply into our own skin.

These techniques reflect the Tantric origins of Ashtanga.  They allow us to make space within ourselves for psychical forces to flow.  When these forces well  up from the depths of our bodies, and move through the emptiness of our minds, they open us to the exhilarating experience of coming undone.  This experience, into which we shall inquire deeply during the intensive, is the common thread of asana, pranayama and meditation.

PROGRAM

Our mornings will be full with the practices of asana, pranayama and guided meditation, followed by group chanting and philosophy.  In the afternoons, we will explore various dimensions of anatomy, alignment, psychology, mythology and technique, insofar as these align with our theme.  These sessions will all be organized to enhance our experience of the practice, by enriching our understanding of what we are doing, and connecting with the elements of the practice that have the most potency.  Through these explorations, we begin to understand how Ashtanga can unravels the psyche, and this enlightens our motive for practicing.  We begin to realize that the purpose is not to expand ourselves, but to break ourselves up, and make room within ourselves for consciousness to breathe.

This intensive is designed for people who want to follow the contemplative thread of Ashtanga Vinyasa wherever it leads.  Some previous exposure to the method is highly advised, but there are no requirements of postural or technical proficiency.  Such things are not essential to our purpose.  What is essential is that we engage ourselves precisely as we are, with honesty, compassion and humor.  To explore the contemplative dimension of the practice, we have to surrender our performative ambitions anyway.  People with injuries and special conditions are absolutely welcome, and everyone with a genuine interest in the subject is encouraged to join.

LOCATION

The Summer Intensive will be held at the Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado.  Our city sits on a high plateau, about 1,600 meters above sea level, tucked up against the Rocky Mountains.  In the summertime, the daytime temperature can rise into the 80’s or 90’s but the air is always quite dry, and it becomes cool at night.  Boulder is know for its gorgeous mountain scenery and ethereal atmosphere, and has long been an inspired center for contemplative practice.  It is progressive and serene, and you can walk or bike almost anywhere.  In short, Boulder is lovely.

The best way to access Boulder is to fly into the Denver International Airport (DIA), and then take a bus ($13) Uber ($70) or Lyft ($70).  The distance is about 40 miles.  The busses are comfortable and will take you all the way into the center of the city.  They run from the airport every hour, except in the middle of the night.  Check the schedule in advance.

Since Boulder is a popular destination for visitors in the summertime, you are encouraged to seek accommodation as early as possible.  The best resource is Airbnb. You may also inquire about rooming at Marpa House, a Buddhist residential community affiliated with Naropa University, and featuring dormitory-style living a quiet and contemplative environment.  They offer full room and board, with kitchen access as well.

COST

The Summer Intensive is $1200.  Registration is made by $400 deposit, and the balance is due by July 15. Refunds will be issued upon request, minus $100. No refunds will be issued after July 15. You might also wish to take the 5-day Assisting Intensive with Ty and Mary in the week prior, which is $600. Register here.